Destination Spotlight

Tomato Heaven in Wonder Farm, Iwaki

Tomato Heaven in Wonder Farm, Iwaki

Peaches are the most famous produce of Fukushima, but blessed with a climate slap bang in the middle of Japan, Fukushima produces countless types of delicious fruit and veggies.

At Wonder Farm, a ‘new age farm’, visitors can learn about farming and also eat lots of delicious, local food. If you like fresh fruit and veg, pizza and BBQs then Wonder Farm is definitely worth a visit. If you love tomatoes, then it's a must!

Wonder Farm is split into 5 areas


Wonder Farm’s tomato farm. Visitors can pick as many tomatoes as they can fit in their allocated Tomato Land bag for only 900 yen!*

*Correct as of June 2020.

There are over 9 types of tomatoes grown at the farm – many with interesting and puzzling names such as 'Hula Girls', 'Midori Chan' and 'Carol'. Depending on the type, the colour of the ripe tomatoes vary from yellow to dark purple, and each has its own unique flavour and texture. It’s fun to try all the different types out and pick a favourite.

See here for details on visiting.


A shop selling locally-produced food, souvenirs and tomato ice cream. So far, the farm has sold many unique products such as tomato jam, tomato curry, tomato beans and tomato dressing, as well as more standard kitchen staples like tomato ketchup, puree and sauce.


A buffet-style restaurant where customers can choose from around 30 different dishes, including wood-fired pizza! Of course, dishes are made with local products as much as possible. Not only this, but the menu changes daily! Take-out pizza is also available.


This may sound a little sinister, but it is actually the farm’s innovation workshop, where new products are developed. Visitors can have a look inside!


The BBQ area is available to rent (Must be reserved in advance by phone). There are many places to sit down outside and just relax – which is surprisingly rare in Japan! Wonder Farm also has its resident cat Tatsu who has a little house outside near the BBQ area. If you’re lucky, you might be able to see him!

To see more photos of Wonder Farm, check out their Instagram @wonderfarmiwaki and website.


  • Wonder Farm is a 20-minute drive from Iwaki Station, so renting a car from outside the station or going by taxi would be easiest.
  • To reach Iwaki from Tokyo, take the JR Hitachi-Tokiwa Limited Express train from Ueno Station to Iwaki Station, taking around 3 hours.
  • For visitors already in Fukushima, get to Koriyama Station, then there is a direct train to Iwaki, which takes just over 1.5 hours.

See below for an example 2 day trip in Iwaki, including a visit to Wonder Farm!

Latest posts

  1. Destination Spotlight

    Following Fukushima’s Footpath: Miyakoji Area in Tamura City

    Miyakoji (都路) is a peaceful village located in the Eastern part of Tamura City (田村市), in the central area of Fukushima prefecture.   It is said that walking in nature helps you feel more relaxed, and walking around Miyakoji in early January definitely had that effect. The charms of Tamura City Ozawa Sakura in Tamura City「Photo credit: Tamura City, 田村市」 Once the snow melts, what is known as the ‘green season’ begins. That is when the cherry blossom trees and flower fields in Tamura City see most of their yearly visitors.  Lavander in Takine area, Tamura City「Photo credit: Tamura City, 田村市」 Tamura City is also home to the Abukuma Cave, said to have the greatest variety and the largest number of stalactites in the whole of Asia. The Miyakoji area in Tamura is lush with vegetation. In the past, the silkworm industry flourished in Miyakoji. As a remnant of this, mulberry trees remain.   Mt. Gojyunin-yama, Miyakoji area「Photo credit: Tamura City, 田村市」 In Miyakoji, particularly, there’s a famous tall weeping tree called “akimoto no shidare-zakura”. Cherry blossom trees can also be found along the main street, and, in spring, visitors can enjoy both the green mulberry trees and pink cherry blossom trees.   Miyakoji’s Evacuation Located about 40 km away from the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Miyakoji became the only area in the city of Tamura that had to be evacuated following the nuclear disaster in 2011.   The evacuation order was lifted on April 1, 2014. Among the towns in Fukushima that had to be evacuated, Miyakoji is one of the few where most of the original residents have returned.  Over ten years after the 2011 disaster, today Miyakoji has over two thousand residents, a convenience store, a hotel, and a few restaurants.  A Picturesque Red-Roofed Town The first thing that caught my eye about Miyakoji are its red-tiled Japanese-style houses.    Is it a coincidence, I wondered, that there are so many buildings with glossy dark red-tiled roofs in Fukushima, something I had rarely seen in other areas of Japan? (By the way, Tsurugajo Castle in the Aizu area is the only red-tiled roofed castle in Japan.) Although I haven’t found a conclusive answer to the mystery of the red-tiled roofs in Fukushima, the widespread theory I found online is that the red color is due to a glaze applied on the tiles to prevent them from freezing and cracking when snow piles up during winter, which makes sense.   Little Beautiful Sights in Miyakoji   A Buddhist temple, statues and a large bell. The original bell was apparently lost during World War II.   Jizo, affectionately called ‘ojizo-san’ in Japanese, are stone Buddha statues dressed in red bibs and caps. These statues are believed to be guardians of children and travelers, and can often be found even in remote rural locations. An unattended vegetable stand is one of the sights truly unique to rural Japan. You can buy local vegetables and pay the fee by leaving the money in the designated area. Miyakoji is rural and tranquil. The air is pure and the river flows bright blue. The Mysteriously Beautiful Okame Shrine Japan has countless shrines; some of them see crowds of visitors from all over the country and overseas, while others are visited mainly by locals.  Okame shrine (大亀神社), despite its incredibly photogenic and mysterious appeal, falls in the latter category; it is a place of worship that remains quiet and undisturbed. The shrine is located on a hill in the heart of a forest of Japanese cypress trees called Thujopsis. Both the shrine and the trees are believed to be over 400 years old.  To reach the shrine, you have to climb up the stairs and venture into the fragrant forest. You’ll notice birds chirping and beams of light coming through the tall tree trunks.  The roof of Okame shrine is red but it looks beautiful covered in snow. This shrine is said to worship Princess Tamayori, the daughter of a sea goddess.  Why is a sea goddess enshrined in the middle of a forest, considerably far from the ocean, you may ask? That is one of the many mysteries of this shrine.     Fostering Community Bonds: Yoriai-dokoro Hana Community Center & Cafe Yoriai-dokoro Hana (よりあい処 華) was opened in June 2014 after the evacuation order for Miyakoji was lifted.  At the time, there were no other restaurants in Miyakoji, so this cafe and community center quickly became a place for returning residents to gather and a pillar of support for the community.   Yoriai-dokoro Hana is located at a traditional Japanese house, and it serves warm meals using local ingredients. This seems like a great place to bond with the locals.    When I visited, there was an exhibition of handicrafts made by townspeople.  Yoriai-dokoro Hana is open from 11:00 to 14:00 only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 「Photo credit: Tamura City, 田村市」 Curious about visiting Miyakoji? Would you like to see more beautiful sights in this area? Traveling to Miyakoji by car It takes approximately an hour to reach Miyakoji from Koriyama station (see route).   Traveling to Miyakoji by public transportation From Koriyama Station, take the JR Ban-etsu East Line train bound for Iwaki, and get off at Funehiki Station (approx. 25 minutes). From the bus stop in front of Funehiki Station (船引駅前) take a “Furumichi” (古道) bus and get off at Miyakoji Administrative Bureau (都路行政局) (approx. 52 minutes). There are only a few buses a day, so be sure to check the bus schedule before your visit.    

    Following Fukushima’s Footpath: Miyakoji Area in Tamura City
  2. Destination Spotlight

    Enjoying Mt. Adatara in Autumn

    Mt. Adatara is one of Fukushima Prefecture’s most spectacular places to go and see the bright colours of the autumn leaves, in a custom that is called 'momiji-gari' in Japanese. I went to Mt. Adatara in Nihonmatsu to try and do some momiji-gari of my own! I was a little worried about hiking Mt. Adatara before I went because I have a bad sense of direction, so I wanted to write this blog to give some tips to those interested in visiting! WHERE TO START? The most simple hiking route – and definitely the most popular one in the autumn season – starts with the Mt. Adatara Rope-way. This rope-way is located at the Adatara Kogen Ski Resort, in Oku Dake (see map below).   TRAVEL TIP During the autumn, there are a number of daily shuttle buses between Dake Onsen town and the rope-way. There is also often a shuttle bus service leaving from Nihonmatsu Station, which takes 50 mins. TAKING THE ROPE-WAY TO YAKUSHI PEAK The 10-minute journey on the Mt. Adatara Rope-way is incredibly scenic, regardless of the time of year. Price: 1,050 yen one-way. 1,750 yen return.* Opening hours: The rope-way tends to be open from late April to early November. Please make sure to make a note of the last return rope-way trip when you visit, to make sure you don't get stranded at the viewpoint! *Correct as of June 2020 When you get off the rope-way, it is a short walk to Yakushi Dake Peak, which is a very popular photo spot. Many people come here just to take photos, then go back down the rope-way and go have their lunch or dip in an onsen! I’ve done this before actually, but this time we wanted to do the full basic hike. We happened to plan our trip to Mt Adatara on a very, very cloudy day – which was unfortunate! But you can tell just how bright the colours of the leaves on the mountain were from the photo below.   MISTY HIKE TO THE TOP OF MT. ADATARA It turns out I didn’t need to worry about getting lost – the route to the top was well signposted – albeit just in Japanese. TRAVEL TIP Make sure you know the kanji words for the places you want to go before you set off on your hike! 安達太良山頂 – Peak of Mt. Adatara (adatara sancho), 奥岳 – Oku Dake (where the hike begins) I was pretty disappointed that, despite being able to see the leaves from the bottom of the rope-way, after departing from the Yakushi Dake view spot, the mist got more and more intense. Check out the amazing views I got from the peak of the mountain! AUTUMN COLOURS SHINING THROUGH Luckily, the weather began to take a turn for the better on the way to our next destination – Kurogane-goya Mountain Lodge. Going from being able to see nothing but white, to being surrounded by colour was a very odd experience! It was a little frustrating, as I realized I could have been seeing amazing sights for the last hour. However, I was so happy to get to enjoy the fantastic views that I soon forgot about my woes. Soon we were able to see our lunch stop, the mountain lodge, off in the distance. It’s the lone building in the photo below. LUNCH AT KUROGANE-GOYA Kurogane-goya Mountain Lodge acts as a rest stop for hikers passing through, as well as being a place to stay the night for those going on longer hikes. The inside decor of the Kurogane-goya Mountain Lodge is nearly completely made of wood. The vintage style lamps and wood stove burner give it a very homey and welcoming feel. I would love to stay here in winter, all warm and comfortable by the fire, despite the heavy snow outside. One thing that is quite well-known about Kurogane-goya is the delicious curry they serve to customers who stay overnight! Even though we didn’t stay overnight on this occasion, we got to sample the curry since we were visiting for a photo shoot. It did not disappoint! There is also a public hot spring facility built into the lodge, complete with amazing, cloudy water straight from a nearby source. I cannot describe how great it feels to get in a hot onsen after hiking for an hour or so. I only had time for a 10-minute dip, but even that was enough to make my body feel physically refreshed. You can use the onsen even if you aren’t spending the night at the lodge. Just remember to bring a towel and prepare to share your bath with other weary hikers! We were blessed with better weather for our hike on the way back from Kurogane-goya Mountain Lodge. The path back to Oku Dake from Kurogane-goya is lined by tall trees for most of the hike, unlike the route to the top of Mt. Adatara which (is supposed to have) panoramic views! On the way down, I spotted a pipe from where you can drink fresh water from the mountain. They even provide you with what looks like a tiny saucepan! As we got closer to the end of our hike, one of my colleagues showed me a few photos he had taken the week before when he went hiking here… I was gutted that the weather hadn’t been better on the day of my visit!     OKUDAKE ONSEN Back at Okudake, from where the hike started, we decided to check out the onsen before heading back to the office. This onsen is called Okudake no Yu. The water is not as cloudy as at Kurogane-goya, and the temperature is a bit cooler, but the water still felt amazing. The outside baths also look like infinity pools! More information here! (Japanese) I definitely recommend visitors to stop by at one of these onsen and have a rest before returning home after their hikes – it is an amazing feeling! HIKING ROUTE Here is a little illustration of the route that we hiked. I hope that it is helpful.

    Enjoying Mt. Adatara in Autumn
  3. Destination Spotlight

    Iizaka Onsen & Kenka Matsuri Autumn Festival

    WHERE IS IIZAKA ONSEN & WHAT IS A ‘KENKA MATSURI’? Iizaka Onsen is a quaint town built around the sources of the Iizaka Onsen hot springs. Iizaka Onsen hot spring water has been loved for over a millennium, and is well-known in Japan. Residents of Tokyo often pop up on the Shinkansen to take a dip in the relaxing waters of Iizaka Onsen! One thing that onsen-lovers should know about Iizaka Onsen is that the hot spring water is very hot. I visited the oldest public bath in the town called ‘Sabako-yu’ on my first day in Fukushima. I’d read the English information pamphlet that said that the water was hot, but I thought “Well, I’ve been to onsen before – how hot can it be?!” Spoiler alert: hotter than you can imagine! (Around 46 degrees Celsius!) There are plenty of onsen you can take a dip in even if you’re not a fan of hot springs that are super hot. The further away from the source you get, the cooler the water gets. Guess where Sabako-yu is? About 200m away from the source… The being said, as long as you let your body get used to the temperature gradually, it's possible to enjoy the super hot onsen too!   HOW CAN I EXPERIENCE A HOT SPRING IN IIZAKA ONSEN? PUBLIC ONSEN There are 9 public hot springs in Iizaka Onsen that you can try out for a small fee. Many of them sell small towels that you can use to dry off after bathing, so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own towel! Public onsen in Japan are almost always separated by gender – unless very clearly specified! – and are open to anyone (with the exception of people with tattoos in some cases). Local people from Iizaka Onsen start visiting the public baths when they are very young, and visit regularly with family and friends until they are old enough to have a family of their own. They will then bring their own children to the public baths, and the cycle of onsen appreciation continues! Public onsen are great places to meet and chat with local people and immerse yourself not only in Japanese culture but in local history and traditions! ASHIYU (足湯)- FOOT-BATHS There are also 3 public foot-baths in Iizaka Onsen, which are free to use, and can be visited by anyone. One of the biggest foot-baths in Iizaka Onsen is in Kyu-horikiri Tei – a traditional residence that dates back over 500 years ago. You can find out about the names and locations of some of these public hot springs and public foot-baths on Iizaka Onsen Tourism Association’s website here! HIGAERI NYUYOKU (日帰り入浴) – DAYTIME ONSEN One more way to enjoy hot springs in Iizaka Onsen is to visit ryokan (traditional Japanese inns). Many ryokan in Iizaka Onsen offer visitors the chance to take a dip in their onsen, even if you’re not staying the night. Daytime onsen visits are available at a number of Iizaka Onsen’s many ryokan, including Hotel Juraku  & Yoshikawaya. Check out this website to see which ryokan hotels English-speaking staff. The price of a trip to a daytime onsen ranges depending on the establishment, but tend to cost between 300 yen to 1400 yen. The more expensive the day onsen, the bigger the establishment and the better the range of baths.   Please note that many higaeri nyuyoku onsen only offer this daytime onsen option before 14:00 or 15:00. Hotel Juraku is the exception to this rule, as it is open most days until 21:00. Many ryokan in Japan have a “no tattoo” policy. If you have a tattoo, you can still enjoy onsen, but you’ll need to reserve a private bath as opposed to bathing with the locals. See this post on reserving private baths.   HIGHLIGHT OF IIZAKA ONSEN – KENKA MATSURI As well as its amazing, relaxing hot spring water, Iizaka Onsen is also known for Kenka Matsuri (translates as ‘fighting festival’!), which is one of three main fighting festivals in Japan. The festival is always held on the first weekend of October. Fighting festivals make up just one of the types of festival held in autumn in Japan. There are many shinto festivals held in autumn, after the rice harvest has taken place, as a way of thanking the gods for that year’s harvest, and to pray for the prosperity of local people who worship at the shrines. During Iizaka Onsen’s Kenka Matsuri, 6 portable shrines (mikoshi) and 6 festival floats (yatai), are paraded around town before being brought to Hachiman Shrine in the center of Iizaka Onsen. Each yatai represents one area of Iizaka Onsen Town, and each mikoshi belongs to one of these various areas. The climax of the festival is reached at around 20:00 on the second day of the festival, when the yatai are brought to Hachiman Shrine – and the fighting begins. Yatai festival stalls are decorated with lanterns, and are accompanied by the omnipresent beat of the Japanese taiko drum. The sound of the taiko drum actually reverberates from inside the yatai – where the drummer ferociously smashes at the drum for the duration of the festival. Once these yatai reach the grounds of Hachiman Shrine, they crash into one another at great force. The reason for this is that each area of Iizaka Onsen, represented by their yatai, is trying to stop another area’s mikoshi from entering the grounds of Hachiman Shrine. Only one mikoshi can enter the shrine first, and receive good luck for the year to come. Once the mikoshi reaches the back of the shrine, the festival is over. WHY SHOULD I GO TO SEE IIZAKA’S KENKA MATSURI? This festival is super exciting, and I love the atmosphere. The evening air carries the beat of the taiko drum – which persists for the entire festival – the smell of yummy festival foods, and the surprised gasps of onlookers at the sight of floats toppling over, yatai set on first from their lanterns, and men making a narrow escape from underneath them. I’ve never been to a Japanese festival as absorbing, exciting and lively as Kenka Matsuri. All the participating locals involved in the festival – from young kids in school to teenagers chanting and following their respective yatai float, to grandpas passing on their traditions – truly put their hearts into the evening, which makes it extra special. I love wandering around Iizaka Onsen on the night of main Kenka Matsuri event. It’s a great opportunity to soak up the amazing atmosphere of a town which is usually so quiet and sleepy. Hachiman Shrine, which becomes the main stage for Kenka Matsuri, is less than a 10 minute walk from Iizaka Onsen station, meaning that even if you have a wander through the streets, it won’t take you long to get back to the action. Unlike other festivals in Japan, Iizaka Onsen’s Kenka Matsuri is relatively unknown amongst visitors from abroad, meaning that you can have an authentic Japanese festival experience, and get to interact with the locals. The crashing of the yatai at Hachiman Shrine usually begins at 20:30, but because it gets crowded on festival days, I recommend you get there early and visit with friends who can save your spot when you go to the loo or go to grab a beer at the food and drink stalls.   WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO IN IIZAKA ONSEN? Aside from the festival, Iizaka Onsen is absolutely worth visiting for the excellent onsen, its picturesque streets, adorable cafés and kind local people. Iizaka Onsen is also home to the Buddhist temple known as Nakano Fudoson Temple, which really leaves an impression on visitors with its mysterious cave and beautiful waterfalls. Iizaka Onsen’s central location also lends itself to including it as part of an itinerary for a weekend away in Fukushima City. Onsen lovers can even try and compare its waters to those of Tsuchiyu Onsen or Takayu Onsen. WHY NOT MAKE A WEEKEND OF IT? Here’s an idea for a way to spend your weekend in Iizaka Onsen & other areas of Fukushima City during festival time! SATURDAY OCTOBER 6 Travel to Iizaka Onsen from Fukushima Station via the Fukushima Transportation Iizaka Line. Take the bus to Nakano Fudoson Temple and spend some time exploring the caves and waterfall! Travel back to Iizaka Onsen and check in at your ryokan for the night. Wander the streets in the evening during festival time. Make sure to walk over to Hachiman Shrine by 20:00 (the main event of the festival begins at 20:30). Enjoy the festival, try the local delicacy Enban Gyoza for dinner, and stay at a ryokan overnight. SUNDAY OCTOBER 7 Spend some time exploring Iizaka Onsen by day (check out the Kyu-horiki Tei former residence, foot-baths, day onsen and cute shops). Take the Iizaka Line back to Fukushima Station. Have lunch in Fukushima (Ideas for restaurants here!) Check out the Fukushima City Inari Shrine Autumn Festival in the afternoon and evening. See here for the location of Inari Shrine! MORE INFORMATION Check out this website for a list of places to eat in Iizaka Onsen. Fukushima City’s Convention Association has prepared a decent list of restaurants and izakaya in central Fukushima City. Check it out here!   ACCESS Iizaka Onsen can be reached in about 2 hours from Tokyo. Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Ueno Station or Tokyo Station to Fukushima Station (90 min), and from there take 25 min train. (See here for info about reaching Fukushima Station)  

    Iizaka Onsen & Kenka Matsuri Autumn Festival